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IEBC managers sent home over Sh30 million trip

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A leaked report on a planned Sh30 million trip proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back in the long simmering feud between electoral agency commissioners and its secretariat, prompting interdiction of four senior staff members and suspension of one.

At the centre of the apparent fallout is a planned benchmarking trip on boundaries demarcation that would have seen the three Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) members — Wafula Chebukati (chairman), Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu — embark on a bench-marking tour of the US, Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and Nigeria.

In a move that further highlights the fact that commissioners and the secretariat have been working at cross purposes in a frosty environment, 21 other officials have been issued with warning letters for alleged professional misconduct that is linked to various anomalies at the poll agency.

Those interdicted include the manager in charge of boundaries, Carolyne Manyange, a cartographer in the boundaries department, Paul Yego and a messenger, Johannes Emali.

Furious chairman

An official, only identified as Malonza, an election coordinator, has also been suspended over the same issue.

Sources at IEBC, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, disclosed that the three were interdicted on Friday last week following the leakage of a crucial report on the commissioners’ planned trip overseas on boundary delimitation.

READ ALSO:   IEBC spent Sh202m on legal fees in 2017

According to insiders, Chebukati called for an urgent meeting last Friday where he demanded that all the officers concerned with the delimitation issue provide names of individuals whom they suspect leaked the report.

It is understood that a furious Chebukati threatened to sack all the members of the secretariat should they fail to provide the names of the suspected offenders.

“Chebukati was furious and wanted to know how such a report could be leaked even before it was finalised,”  said the source.

Reacting to the latest development at the electoral body, two MPs appeared to take different positions.

Peter Kaluma, who is a member of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, sided with the commissioners, but with a rider that as “long as the law was followed.”

“Nobody should be allowed to micromanage IEBC and members of the secretariat should know that the commissioners are their employers. So as long as the law was followed, the Chebukati-led team was right to take the decision,” he said.

But Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), appeared to differ insisting that the commission has outlived its usefulness.

“As PAC, we maintain that the commissioners failed to take charge of the entire electoral process and made taxpayers to lose billions of shillings through direct procurement of most election materials. So their continued stay in office is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Any action they are doing is simply gobbling our money,” he said.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Chiloba finally speaks out on Msando's death

Those given warning letters were accused of various misdeeds in the procurement of equipment used in the last General Election which the three commissioners now claim were sub-standard and led to irregularities in some areas.

Yesterday, neither Chebukati nor IEBC corporate communications manager Tabitha Mutemi answered our phone calls nor responded to text messages.

The commissioners have since cancelled the trips that were estimated to cost the taxpayers Sh30 million.

However, it was the visit to South African that raised eyebrows as the country does not have constituencies as the country’s  Parliament consists of 490 seats, with 400 forming the Lower House or National Assembly pegged on party strength.

The Upper House or the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has 10 members from each province. Members to the NCOP are provincial delegates nominated by each provincial legislature.

According to insiders, Chebukati, Guliye and Molu resolved to have the three individuals sent packing as they directly deal with the issue of boundaries delimitation.

Three commissioners instead of seven currently constitute the IEBC after Roselyn Akombe fled the country while three others controversially resigned in a huff namely vice-chair Connie Maina, Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat.

Carry out review

Chebukati’s action comes at a time when the commission is preparing to conduct a review of boundaries in line with the Constitution once the national population and housing census is concluded.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Chiloba now explains why Chebukati's login was used for 9,000 transactions

It was understood that the decision to issue the letters follows the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report that indicted the officials on their roles in the procurement of Sh4 billion Kenya Integrated Election Management Systems (Kiems) kits without the contractors providing performance guarantees contrary to the provisions of section 142 (1) of the Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.

According to the sources, the 21 had been invited by the committee to explain their role in the saga as well as prove why action should not be taken against them.

Those indicted by the House committee included acting chief executive officer Marjan Hussein whom the committee accused of misleading the CEO into endorsing contracts without following the law.

source:mediamax.co.ke

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I bought a car from an online bazaar, but it ended in tears

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Buyer beware! The sleek car that you saw on that online bazaar may not be on sale – but a ruse to rip you off.

Three buyers fell for this trap, hoodwinked by a smooth-talking ‘salesman’ who promised to help them upgrade their cars, in a saga that ended in tears.

And the victims had thought that because a lawyer was involved in the transaction, this protected their interests as well. However, the manner in which they lost their cash raises questions about his role.

The address was an office block in the city centre, where the sale agreements would be drafted, buyers would part with their cash and the seller would thereafter vanish into thin air without delivering the vehicle.

Since 2018, when one of the cases was reported, the victim is yet to recover his money, with the lawyer claiming he did not know the seller.

This year, however, two more people have fallen prey to the scam and it’s unclear how many more have been conned.

Wanted to upgrade his car

Earlier this year, Mr Kelvin Ngugi, 23, wanted to upgrade his KBX Toyota Sienta and, while scrolling through the internet one evening, he came across a dealer who identified himself as Mr Ronald Bundi on Jiji.ke, the online classifieds website that acquired OLX.

Mr Bundi was willing to trade in Mr Ngugi’s old vehicle and Mr Ngugi, impressed at the convenience of that possibility, began making arrangements for that to happen.

However, before the deal could be closed, Mr Bundi informed him that the trade-in option was no longer viable.

He was left with the sole option of selling his car to buy the one he wanted, a white Toyota Sienta, registration KCQ.

Mr Ngugi hunted for a buyer, sold it and reached out to Mr Bundi for the car he wanted. He was informed the car was still available at a showroom along Kiambu road at Sh600,000.

“The plan was that I pay a Sh500,000 deposit and remit the balance in instalments of Sh25,000,” recalled Ngugi.

Mr Kelvin Ngugi.

On February 19, when they were to close the deal, Mr Bundi advised Mr Ngugi to meet him at lawyer Wilberforce Mariaria Nyaboga’s office at Uniafric House, along Koinange Street, for the payment and signing of a sale agreement.

Mr Ngugi says he did as advised, returned with the money and gave it to the lawyer, who, alongside the seller, started counting it.

When they confirmed the amount, the seller offered to go get the car with Mr Ngugi’s father from a garage in Hurlingham.

Mr Bundi explained the car had been taken to Hurlingham to be fitted with an alarm system to ease its tracking in the event Mr Ngugi failed to remit the balance.

Unbeknown to Mr Ngugi, this was the seller’s trick to get away with his money.

The two stepped out to hop onto motorbike taxis to speed them to the garage, but Mr Bundi sped past Mr Ngugi’s father and disappeared.

“Later Dad called to inform me that they had lost him. We tried reaching Bundi on the phone in vain.  That is how I realised I had been conned,” he said.

Mr Ngugi says he recorded a statement with a Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officer at Central Police Station but that is yet to bear any fruit.

He says the police have been unable to track down both Mr Bundi and the lawyer, even on the occasions the latter is spotted at his office.
On Thursday, the lawyer denied knowing Ngugi and ever having drafted the agreement.
————

Another victim

After giving up hope of ever recovering the Sh900,000 she paid for a Toyota RAV4, Ms Florence Awour (36) decided to share her predicament on a Facebook’s parenting group to expose Mr Bundi, who had conned her too.

Ms Awuor had spotted the car at Jiji.ke and involved her brother in making the purchase. She paid Sh1.1 million through the lawyer’s Equity Bank account but never got the car.

Ms Florence Awour.

Nation Media Group

Her brother had been assured the car was at a yard along Kiambu road. Her brother and a mechanic had checked out and test-driven the car twice before she paid for it.

She conducted a search on the car’s registration and realised her brother had also been given a fake logbook.

“I alerted the car’s owner, who in turn filed a report with a DCI officer at Central Police Station under OB number 67/26/02/2020.”

After publicising her tribulations, she said the lawyer refunded Sh200,000 and alleged the balance had been wired to the seller.

Yesterday, the lawyer acknowledged he refunded the money but after realising that the deal had gone sour. He admitted to having recorded a statement at Central police station where the matter has been pending under investigation for months.

“I was acting on behalf of the two because they came to me asking for an agreement to seal their deal. I am therefore not to blame. I am also aware that the police have been hunting the seller who I only know as Robert, who is unknown to me,” he said.

The sale agreement however was with Alice Nancy Momanyi.
—-

Seller disappeared into thin air

Henry Munene Muchiri (35) also gave up after a long wait for justice. He said police were unable to help him recover Sh600,000 paid for a Toyota Sienta bought via OLX but was never delivered to him in 2018.

“After expressing my interest, I was taken to a yard on Ngong Road where I saw the vehicle, inspected it and agreed to make a purchase.”

A Toyota Sienta 2010 model.

File | Nation Media Group

But before the car was released, Mr Munene was asked to accompany the seller to his lawyer’s office in town to sign a sale agreement.

“At some point everything was fine, the car’s logbook and search hinted at no foul play until I was asked to make the payment. Apparently they did not have a bank account so I was requested to pay in cash and I brought the money to the lawyer’s office.”

At some point the seller said he needed to rush downstairs to pick up a laptop for use in the transaction but he never came back.

“The lawyer claimed he didn’t know the seller in person and I reported the matter at Central Police Station under OB number 146/10/7/18 but the investigating officer kept asking for a facilitation fee to speed up investigations. I later gave up and returned to Kirinyaga,” he said.

Efforts to contact Mr Bundi were futile. His contacts as received from the victims were out of service and others were not being picked.

Cash withdrawn immediately

However, an attempt to send Sh5 to one of Mr Bundi’s contact to get his Mpesa-registered name was successful. The amount was, however, withdrawn from his end as soon as it was received. A text message the Nation sent to this number thereafter requesting his response to the claims by the victims wasn’t responded to.

After placing a call and sending a text message to the lawyer on Tuesday, October 20, requesting his response to the claims by the victims, he called back but declined an interview on phone.

Mr Mariaria told this writer to meet him on Wednesday, October 21, in his office. The meeting was then pushed to Thursday when the lawyer denied claims of acting in collusion with Mr Bundi.

He explained that although he had drafted two agreements in the past for transactions in which the buyers never got the vehicles, he has never been involved in any deal with Mr Bundi.

Mr Mariaria added he could not recall parties to the transactions because he offers legal services to many people.

“People come to me after agreeing to sell and buy cars from each other and all I do is sign the agreement and witness the transaction,” added the lawyer.

Denies culpability

Asked whether he was concerned about his office being used to swindle Kenyans money, he responded he cannot stop people from flocking to his office in search of legal services.

“The only mistake I committed was receiving Florence’s money in my account. Otherwise, there are too many criminals in town and cars are being sold every day. The only thing I can do is to be careful next time,” the lawyer said.

Jiji, a subsidiary of Digital Spring Ventures, acquired OLX from five countries in its efforts to become the leading classified marketplace in the world by traffic.

The transactions made through the platform are virtual, which exposes it to abuse but to cushion its clients from theft, the website advises buyers to only make payments for items bought after successful delivery.

“Avoid anything that appears too good to be true, such as unrealistically low prices and promises of quick money,” further reads the disclaimer.

by nation.co.ke

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Court postpones case against Sonko’s impeachment

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BY KEVIN KOECH

The Labour Court has suspended the temporary issued over half a year ago to have Nairobi’s governor Mike Sonko impeached.

On Friday, justice made the decision after disbanding an initial report filed former Nairobi county assembly speaker Beatrice Elachi.

Elachi sought to have Mike Sonko relieved of his duties at Nairobi’s county boss.

In her argument, Elachi said that there was no employer-employee relationship between the governor and members of the county assembly.

She added that such a relationship didn’t give the governor the mandate to determine any arising dispute.

Elachi further stated that the case breaches the basic principle of law that states all government entities should not encroach on each other since they are separate.

Additionally, the former speaker stated that the governor’s case was against the law as it abused the entire court process.

Justice Ongaya, however, ruled that the governor didn’t have to create an employee-employer relationship with ward representatives.

He added that impeachment is a disciplinary process for removing a person from the office which is a function of human resource.

Therefore, it is within the realms of the Constitution and Statutory provisions.

Additionally, the judge said Sonko’s case was within Constitutional and Statutory jurisdiction that can decline issues pertaining to labour relations and employment.

READ ALSO:   LIVE TV: Uncertainty looms as Kenyan High Court nullifies presidential ballot paper tender

Also, section 12(2) of the Employment Labour Relations Court Act, 2011 it’s okay for a case to be filed in court against or by any institution under the written law.

Additionally, the Act allows the court to determine disputes against people working as either employers or employees.

On his part, Ongwaya said proceeding with the case didn’t mean he was undermining the comity of the three government arms.

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Uhuru warns boda boda riders against being used by politicians for personal gains

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BY KEVIN KOECH

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday the 23rd of October oversaw the signing of a grand deal between capital markets authority, Boda Boda Safety Association of Kenya (BAK) an investment firm and an oil marketer.

The head of state further gave the riders some financial advice on how to scale and become rich.

Uhuru also encouraged the bodaboda riders to work hard so that they can achieve their goals.

“Boda boda industry is a sleeping giant that needs to be awakened, which is why the boda boda investment scheme is a great idea.

“Every individual should take pride in paying the price for what they want. If you do not pay the price, someone will pay to misuse you,” Uhuru said.

President Uhuru further questioned why some Boda Boda riders are poor despite the industry raking a staggering ksh 27 billion monthly.

According to him, the industry earns more than what the Government gives counties yearly.

“Every year, in totality, the boda boda industry makes ksh 357 billion. Boda boda association if together, would make more than what the government gives to the 47 counties.

“If you collect almost ksh1 billion every day, why does every boda boda rider cry of poverty?” Uhuru questioned.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan lawyers in US push for Diaspora vote

“The boda boda sector supports, directly or indirectly, 5.2 million kenyans which accounts for 10% of the population. This means that one in every ten kenyans makes his livelihood because of the business that you do,” he added

The head of state also cautioned the riders against accepting influence from political forces.

According to him, the riders should unite and work hard to visualize their dreams.

“If the working life of a boda boda is ten years after which he joins another sector, then this scheme offers a safe landing for him outside the said industry. My government is in full support of this association.

“My advice is to tell you to leverage your numbers.. look at things not in an individual aspect, but in a collective point of view. At times you’ll have to make unpopular decisions hence the reason why I came with a lean team. But always think of yourselves first and be careful not to be swindled based on political grounds.”

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